Anorak News | Brassed Off

Brassed Off

by | 9th, November 2005

‘CELINE Dion is not the only musician with a long face. Get a load of that lot in the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. What a bunch of miserabilists.

‘Hello, Bournemouth! Yeah! Is everyone having good time. Whooahh!’

True enough, it is hard to smile when a violin bow has just stripped a handful of hair from the side of your head, and the cellists marauding elbow has just caught you in the flies, but the players might still make an effort to look happy.

As the Times says, the BSO has been nicknamed “The Glums” by audience members. “Many of the violins, especially, wore masks of utter impassive boredom and yawns were not far way,” says Hilary Vivian on the orchestra’s website.

“Surely a smile would be possible for the people who’ve trailed all over Devon, and often Cornwall, to follow this great orchestra,” she adds.

And this view strikes a chord with Anthony Brown, the orchestra’s head of marketing. He says the issue of unhappy looking musicians is being discussed at the next Association of British Orchestras conference. It’s not a problem confined to Bournemouth.

“A perennial problem is that the orchestra members don’t seem to enjoy themselves,” says he. “It tends to be the ones that don’t who people notice. The violins and cellos, who are at the front, often get noticed.” And audiences may not spot the percussionist banging that drum into a state of aroused ecstasy.

But what is the solution. Give everyone a drum? Play Beethoven’s ninth symphony ‘Ode to Joy’ chorus on loop? Punctuate breaks in Haydn’s Symphony No. 34 in d minor with cries of “You plonker, “Rodney” and lusty blasts on a kazoo?

But it might just be that if you want your musician to grin and give the audience something to really laugh at, you should ditch Mahler and get along to a Cliff Richard concert…’

Posted: 9th, November 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink